REVIEW: “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

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Jonathan Montague, Contributing Writer

Matthew Vaughn and the “Kingsman” franchise returns with all of the style and flair that you would expect from a “Kingsman” sequel. Unfortunately, some might find that this sequel doubles down a few areas that it does not need to.

The film Taron Egerton follows Eggsy, now a full-fledged Kingsman, finally in a good position in his life. His whole world is thrown into disarray, however, when a psychotic drug kingpin named Poppy succeeds in annihilating nearly the entire Kingsmen organization. This prompts Eggsy and Merlin to join forces with their American counterparts, the Statesmen, to stop Poppy, who plans to hold the world hostage with her deadly product. At the same time, they discover their own friend and Eggsy’s mentor, the former Agent Galahad, Harry Hart, to be alive and with the Statesmen.

The script is fairly strong with mostly excellent, hilarious dialogue and a good sense of escalation. The movie wastes no time in throwing you into the action and only ramps up from there. The plot is full of twists and turns, keeping you guessing up until the thrilling climax. Still, they find plenty of time for heartfelt moments and nothing feels forced or out of place. A real progression is shown for Eggsy’s character in this movie and the events of the last truly felt like they had impact, with his endearing relationship with Princess Tilde done exceptionally well.

Through its incredibly extravagant plot, the film still manages to raise important societal questions about legality and the drug trade.

Every actor in this movie gives a jovial performance, with some even getting to stretch their dramatic muscles with some truly heartfelt scenes. Taron Egerton and Mark Strong step seamlessly back into their roles as the likeable Kingsmen and play well off of the Statesmen. Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum charm as Champagne, head of Statesmen, and Tequila respectively, along with Pedro Pascal as top Statesman, Whiskey. Julianne Moore is somehow both over-the-top and subdued as Poppy, a villain with a fanatic obsession over the 50s, who values control, but wants recognition for her profession. Lastly, Colin Firth shows us a new side of Harry Hart endearing us to the character in a new and clever way.

The action scenes continue the style used by the first film while being very creative in their locations and fighting styles. The cinematography is vibrant and colorful, giving this insane world the life it needs to bloom. Still, there are some issues that must be addressed.

The film waits until after a dramatic reveal and exciting action scene to show Eggsy’s new status quo, making for a somewhat clumsy introduction. The music in this film, while well-composed, is not mixed well, feeling overly loud and distracting throughout the movie. Harry Hart’s return is done better than something like “Men In Black II,” which used the same kind of storyline, but still feels like it could have been cut to streamline the story more. Many characters and actors are included and subsequently wasted by disabling or outright killing them off for no reason, while other characters feel like an afterthought, and end up serving no purpose thematically or narratively. There is also a character introduced who is meant to be a caricature and ends up being unlikable, despite the actor who plays him being very charismatic.

Overall, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” will satisfy moviegoers as a fast-paced, high octane thrill ride that can touch hearts and give a good time, despite some major shortcomings that hold it back from being as finely-tuned as the original.